The Portrait of the Archives123

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The Archives of Yugoslavia is institution of culture that preserves archival material of exceptional significance for research of the history of Yugoslavia , Balkan Peninsula, Southeast and Middle Europe, especially the epoch of the Cold War, created during the work of the central state authorities and organizations, institutions, political and other organizations, associations and other subjects of the Yugoslav State from its foundation in 1918 till 2003 as well as in the period of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro from 2003 to 2006.


The Archives of Yugoslavia was founded according to the General Law on the Archives of FNRY from 1950 under the name State Archives of FNRY. Although the idea of establishing archive that would collect all archival material created in the work of state institutions of Yugoslavia existed already in the Kingdom, this idea haven’t been realized since. The Archives started to work by the end of 1952.when it changed its name to the State Archives of FNRY. Federal Assembly passed the Law on the Archives of Yugoslavia that regulated in detail competencies and responsibilities of the Archive. Competencies and status of the Archive have been changed according to the development of the state. The Law on Archive from 1978 and the Law on organization and Scope of Federal Administrative Bodies and Federal Organizations from 1978 when the Archive of Yugoslavia obtained status of federal organization respectfully independent institution accountable for its work to the federal government. Competences of the Archive were finally regulated by the Law on Archival Materials of Federation from 1986. The Archive of Yugoslavia in 2003 changed its name in the Archive of Serbia and Montenegro because of the change of the name of the state. Status and the name of the Archives were changed in 2009 when the Government of the Republic of Serbia founded Archives of Yugoslavia as institution of culture. The Archive is situated since 1969 in the building used to be Dormitory of King Alexander I for the high school students. Today, the Archives of Yugoslavia is public archive that is part of the network of the archival service of the Republic of Serbia.

Activity of the Archives

Activities of the Archives are regulated by laws and by-laws and the activities are as follows:

  • protection of archival holdings outside the Archives;
  • admission, storage and protection of archival holdings in the Archives;
  • organization and processing of archival holdings;
  • information about the fonds and archival holdings from the competence of the Archives;
  • provision of conditions for the use of archival holdings;
  • publication of archival holdings, finding aids about archival holdings and other publications; promoting the use of archival holdings;
  • exhibitions of archival holdings, organization of lectures and other forms of cultural and educational activities;
  • research and recording of archival holdings in the country and abroad for the purpose of completing the fonds of the Archives;
  • application of information technologies in all fields of work of the Archives;
  • technical protection of archival holdings;
  • cooperation with archives and other similar institutions and associations in the country and abroad
  • implementation of the Agreement on Succession Issues, Annex D – Archives, regarding the "SFRY State Archives".

Archival holdings

Taking Over of Archival Material from those who have created them is one of the most important functions of any archive. The issue of storage space which the Archives have faced since establishment, the need to collect the material which have come in their competence after establishment and major changes in the 1990s resulted in major oscillations in the quantity of received material in different years. So in 1955 total of 7202 meters was received and after dissolution of SFRY, 1990-1993, total number of 10.854 meters was taken over. By the end of the eighties and the beginning of the nineties from the Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, complete material dealing with the Kingdom of Yugoslavia with all diplomatic – consular representation offices till 1945 was taken over by the Archives of Yugoslavia. After the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia was dissolved, the Archives took over its compete archives (fond 507, 661 meter) together with employees. The Archives of Yugoslavia in 2010 took over complete archive of Josip Broz Tito (fonds, 836, 837, totally about 300meters) together with the employees.

From the foundation till this day, the role of the Archive has been to collect systematically archival material, to take it over, arrange it and make it accessible to the public. In order that the archival material of one fond or collection is presented in a most proper way to the public and in order to be physically protected from decay it is processed and arranged according to the new principles, it is valued by using modern criteria, the structure is established and finally it is presented through finding aids (inventories) to enable researchers to obtain necessary information as soon as possible.

Wider public is introduced to the rich Archival material through publications and thematic exhibitions of documents. From the very beginning, the archives worked on conservation and restoration of archival material. Being one type of protection of archival material, photography and microfilm laboratories were established in the Archives. Digitizing of material has been very active in the last years presenting one more aspect of protection of original archival material, so to speak. One of the most important digitized fonds that could be searched in that way is Collection of Milan Stojadinović (AJ-37). Since 1997, the Archives have had its web page that was significantly revised in 2008, today a new one up-to date designed web page of this institution has been presented .

In the Archives There are about 40 thousand meters of documentary material respectfully 880 archival fonds consisting of 149 fonds from the period of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, 645 fonds from the period of SFRY/SRY/Serbia and Montenegro and 86 collections of the documents. Collection of photographs has about 50.000 photos from 62 archival fonds including those received as a gift or obtained by repurchase. All archival material is subject to law provisions regarding its accessibility (30 years). Archival material is stored in the depots at two locations (Archives building itself, 33 Vase Pelagića and depot of the Archives of Yugoslavia in the former building of Federal Executive Council 2, 104 Bulevar Zorana Djindjića). All fonds and collections have finding aids – listings (not processed fonds), inventories and card files (processed fonds and collections). Finding aids for processed fonds (inventories) except in written form exist as well in the data base, from 2003 in MS Access base and from 2013 it works in a new system of web-application that is accessible in the reading room of the Archives. On the website of the Archives, inventories could be find in PDF. Since 2000, the Archives have been publishing professional Review Archive.


Library of Archives of Yugoslavia has ample fond of books (about 27.000) and periodicals (11.000) from the field of archival science, history, law, sociology and political science. Maps, posters and leaflets are also preserved in the library ( about 1750 inventory units)

Reading room

Yearly in the reading room of the Archives over 600 domestic and foreign researchers research( 628 - 2017, 617 - 2018, 692 - 2019 etc.) with about 4800 visits per year (2017), 4831 (2018) and 4947 (2019).


The Archives of Yugoslavia today has 43 employees, most of them with higher education (historians, lawyers, political scientist, conservators etc.)


  • Arhiv Jugoslavije 1950-1995. - Beograd : Arhiv Jugoslavije, 1995
  • Arhiv Jugoslavije 1950-2000 / urednik Komnen Pijevac - Beograd : Arhiv Jugoslavije, 2000.
  • ANĐELKOVIĆ, Momčilo, Zgrada Arhiva Jugoslavije: od Doma Kralja Aleksandra I za učenike srednjih škola do Arhiva Jugoslavije : (1930-2003), Beograd 2003.
  • Arhiv Jugoslavije = The Archives of Yugoslavia / autori Lilijana Ratković-Trifunović ... i dr. - Beograd : Arhiv Jugoslavije, 2010.

Date of last change: 01. 04. 2024

2024. The Archives of Yugoslavia

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